This is the second time in two years that Besiktas — a team that finished sixth in a Turkish league that is not considered one of the top divisions in Europe — landed and paid for a big time NBA star.
Last year it was Allen Iverson, a future Hall of Fame player but a guy well past his prime now. This time it is Deron Williams, one of the best point guards in the game at the peak of his career.
How are they paying for all this? Williams is going to be paid between $200,000 a month and $5 million for the season (reports are varied, to say the least). Either way that is a lot more than a team like this should be able to take on — especially a team that had to deal with a brief players’ strike last season when payroll was not met (except for Iverson).
According to Besiktas’ coach Ergin Ataman, they have a way, which he explained when he spoke with Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.
Of course during the years with some agents, there was some problem about some situations, but in Besiktas club, also in football (soccer), we have a good team. We have Guti (Jose Maria Gutierrez Hernandez), we have Quaresma (Ricardo Andrade Quaresma Bernardo), we have Fernandes (Manuel Henriques Tavares Fernandes), they are the biggest names in the European soccer market. This is the same president, the same management. It’s not separated from Besiktas football and basketball. We don’t have any problems.
Last year on our team … maybe sometimes there are some [checks] late — maybe one week, 10 days, maybe one month, only one time. But now, everybody can take his money. And in this situation, this is also completely different for Deron Williams because we have a special sponsor — a separate sponsor from the team. This is a different situation. This is not included in the club budget. This is a special situation, and also will be for Kobe and other star players if they come to play for Besiktas.
The coach did not name the company, other than to say it was one of the ones the president of the club has (he apparently has several).
Besiktas is milking this for all the publicity they can. The players union is milking this for all they can. We’ll see in September what it really all amounts to.